Jesus came to live on Earth as Emmanuel, God with man. He came to save His flock from sin and death by sacrificing Himself as a role model. He demonstrated the supernatural nature of God and indicated that men and women possess many of the same emotional characteristics as God Himself. He proved that God forgives, heals, loves and redeems every human kind on Earth who will follow Him. But to many, that is not enough.
Jesus directed us on our path to His Kingdom, and eternal life, but many want more.
Looking way, way back, to our first father in God, Abraham, a man of vision who is recorded to be one of the very first human beings to understand that there is only one God, and His power is immense, I took a look at the 22nd Chapter of Genesis today.
In this chapter Abraham proves his obedience and faith by, at God’s perceived direction, offering a human sacrifice to God of his only son, Isaac. In verse 5 Abraham is about to ascend the mountain directed by God. Abraham instructs the two servants who attended him to remain at their camp. At that point, ABRAHAM PROMISES his servants that he will return with his son. Abraham has faith in God. And he DOES return to the camp with his only son, Isaac.
Abraham does everything prescribed by God, including obligating Isaac to carry the wood for his own burnt offering, (just as Jesus was obligated to carry His own wooden cross). However, in the split second before Abraham takes a knife to his son’s chest, God stops him. God instructs Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, because human sacrifice is WRONG. This story is a strong example that God would not take Abraham’s son from him.
And so, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yet, even though God makes it clear that human sacrifice is wrong, and even though all Christians and those who celebrate the Jewish faith know the commandment from God, “Thou shalt not kill,” and even though Jesus Himself is known to have said that God does not require sacrifice, but mercy, many people are not satisfied this Christmastime.
It is not enough that God, through Christ Jesus, shares his very body and blood with us. Many Christians require that Jesus be put to death, a torturous, humiliating death.
As I reflect upon the Christmas story, (no, not the one with Ralphie), I will celebrate the life of Jesus, His incarnation, His direction, His grace, and His Spirit. This year all of this will be enough (and maybe a calendar with cute kitties.) Have faith.